Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Petition drive underway to undo FSU/Koch deal

The left-leaning Progress Florida has launched a petition drive to get Florida State University to undo this deal involving libertarian businessman and FSU donor Charles G. Koch and the school's economics department. Here's the email Progress Florida just sent out:

In exchange for accepting $1.5 million from billionaire Charles Koch, one of the notorious right-wing Koch Brothers, Florida State University gave Koch the unprecedented right to reject some professor candidates for the school’s economics department.1 Allowing one of Florida’s great public universities to be used as a front for the Koch's corporate propaganda machine is unacceptable.

Stop this unprecedented assault on academic freedom.

Sign our petition to Florida State University President Eric Barron urging him to cancel this outrageous deal with the Kochs and protect academic freedom.

Dean David Rasmussen, who was instrumental in cutting the deal with Koch, in a recent opinion piece, cited budget cuts to universities over the past five years as necessitating the trade-off. Rasmussen falsely claims that the university retains control over hiring practices, but already during the first round of hiring after the agreement, Koch’s advisory board rejected 60% of the faculty’s candidate suggestions. University budget cuts are no excuse to subvert academic freedom by giving wealthy benefactors influence over the hiring of professors.

Sign our petition to FSU President Eric Barron. Tell him to protect academic freedom and cancel the deal with the Kochs.

The Koch's move to control a part of FSU's economics department is bigger than FSU. For years, right wing billionaires like the Kochs have funded scores of front groups and think tanks to advance their radical agenda. Now they want to use the cover of a public university in an attempt to give their failed ideas more credibility with the public. They can't win the battle of ideas in a fair fight, so they're suppressing academic freedom to get their way. Florida State’s preposterous arrangement with Charles Koch opens the door to a slippery slope of pay-to-play control over our universities and should not go unchallenged.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:52am]

    

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